Wigan scout volunteer praised for helping rescue missing pensioner

John Lechmere receives his commendation from Chief Insp Ian Jones of Lancashire Police
John Lechmere receives his commendation from Chief Insp Ian Jones of Lancashire Police

A local scouting volunteer has been hailed a hero for using his skills to track down a missing pensioner.

John Lechmere has worked with the 51st Ormskirk (Up Holland) Scout Group for over 28 years and realised he could be of value to the police when he learnt that a major search had been launched for an elderly man that he knew.

He had gone missing from his home overnight earlier this year and the search involving both officers and members of the public was taking place in the countryside around Up Holland.

It was quite cold and there was concern for the man’s welfare.

Knowing the missing man, John set out with his dog Tia to search the fields, woods and thickets north of Up Holland towards Beacon Park.

Happily the pair located the pensioner and helped to get him back home.

John said: “This was a real community effort of the police, family, friends and neighbours of the missing gentleman. I’ve lived in Up Holland for 40 years and spent ages covering this ground and know every hiding place a Scout can use in the evasion game Manhunt, so that came in handy with the search.”

The man is now being cared for in hospital.

For his heroic deed John was awarded a Lancashire Constabulary Divisional Commendation at a ceremony held at the Police’s Hutton HQ this month. He was presented with a certificate by Chief Insp Ian Jones from West Lancashire.

John says he would recommend being an adult volunteer with the Scouts.